Improving Teamwork - 10 June 2008
In winter each year, thousands of groups of whales leave their homes in the polar ice caps to make the massive journey to warmer waters; a 10,000 kilometre voyage. Sadly, hundreds of whales beach themselves along our shores. Stranded and often too heavy to be dragged back out to sea, many of them die.
There are several reasons why this occurs. One cause is that whales rely on magnetic fields, so a deviation in these fields throws them off track. They're also guided by underwater topography, so if there's an unexpected or odd coastline formation, they become confused. And sometimes, they just mindlessly follow a disoriented leader.
In each case, it's flawed or missing information that transforms a well-functioning group of whales into a tragedy. Many teams at work also contain a few beached whales, metaphorically speaking. And just like our fellow mammals, it's the shortage of free-flowing information that crushes teamwork.
Ideas Information: Give team members the freedom to share their opinions on what's working and what's not, and to change processes they feel are archaic.
Personality Information: Every team member should clearly understand the communication styles, learning methods, and work preferences of each colleague.
Performance Information: Your team's goals, strategy, performance, progress, and statistics need to be easily and readily accessible.
Competitor Information: Educate your team on the status of the industry, competitor tactics, and your team's performance in comparison to other teams.
Quite a few species of whales have become extinct with many more on endangered lists. Is your team next?
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